• Solomon Islands!

    Solomon Islands: Looking up at palm trees. Go Now!

    Solomon Islands
    This Melanesian country is best known for its many islands and beaches... and this natural landscape (pictured) is why most people go. Don't miss out on the unique Melanesian culture and foods though! Begin Your Journey!

  • Tonga!

    Tonga: Coastline. Go Now!

    The heart of Polynesian culture is rooted in Tonga, but most visitors just come for the natural beauty. Explore Tonga!

  • Vanuatu!

    Vanuatu: Jetty into the ocean. Go Now!

    Picturesque serenity is a good way to describe Vanuatu, but the culture offers much more, including the inspiration for bungee jumping, which remains a rite of passage for young men. Explore Vanuatu!

  • Palau!

    Palau: "70 Islands!" Go Now!

    Few people have even heard of this small Micronesian country, but those who have often return with stories of beauty unmatched elsewhere, such as view of the "70 Islands" (pictured). Go Now!

  • Explore the: Federated States of Micronesia!

    Federated States of Micronesia: Overlooking some islands. Go Now!

    Federated States of Micronesia
    This diverse country stretches for thousands of miles and has the diversity to prove it, including the people from Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Yap among others. Begin Your Journey!

  • Samoa!

    Samoa: A traditional home. Go Now!

    Among the most famous of the South Pacific's many countries, Samoa sits in the heart of Polynesia and has a culture to match. Begin Your Journey!

Ethnicity, Language, & Religion of Vanuatu


Nearly everyone in Vanuatu is ethnically Melanesian, but the people prefer to be called Ni-Vanuatu. The Melanesians are likely the descendants of the Papuans and Austronesians, but each group of Melanesians has slight variations from group to group and the Ni-Vanuatu are slightly different from other Melanesian peoples, such as the Melanesians in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.


English, French, and Bislama (or pidgin) are the official languages of Vanuatu. There are also about 100 local languages, primarily Melanesian languages, but few have a large number of speakers. French and English are very common in Port Vila and tend to be the languages of communication between the local and the immigrant populations. These are also the languages of communication amongst these foreign populations as many are not native English or French speakers, but they have learned one of these languages.

Communication between the locals is generally done using Bislama. Many people in the larger cities of Port-Vila and Luganville speak this language natively, but elsewhere it is a secondary language used for communication. This language was created when many people from Vanuatu traveled to Australia or other countries and created this creole language that incorporates English, French, and numerous languages of the South Pacific, most specifically Melanesian languages. Today this is the most widely used language in Vanuatu and it is similar to Tok Pisin (in Papua New Guinea) and "Pijin" (in Vanuatu) as all three are creoles based on English and Melanesian languages. Bislama differs from these other two languages in a number of ways, primarily in the heavier use of French and the fact that most of the Melanesian vocabulary is limited to local plants and animals.

Most of the over hundred local languages are Melanesian languages, but there are an odd languages in the islands that are not Melanesian including Emae, Mele-Fila, and Futuna-Aniwa. It is unlikely any of these local languages, other than Bislama, have more than 10,000 speakers.


Just over 80% of the people in Vanuatu are Christian with the Presbyterian Church being home to about a third of the population while the Anglican Church and Catholic Church are each home to about 13% of the population. About 6% of the people follow indigenous beliefs, including the "John Frum Cargo Cult."

This page was last updated: May, 2014